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Nearly three-quarters of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll support a one-year delay in implementing the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, which requires employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health care coverage for their workers or pay fines.
The Obama administration recently decided to postpone that mandate. Full implementation now is slated for 2015 instead of 2014.
“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively," wrote Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the U.S. Treasury Department, in a blog post on the department’s website.
The move to postpone the employer mandate has drawn varied responses. A number of business groups have applauded the decision, saying companies need more time to prepare. Republicans on Capitol Hill have criticized it, arguing that the individual mandate—requiring nearly all Americans to have health insurance—also should be delayed.
Others are concerned about the cost of delaying the employer mandate—which, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, could be in the billions of dollars—and the possibility that a delay could encourage new attempts to repeal the health care law.
Roughly 60 percent of respondents support a delay in the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents disapprove of the health care law—with more than half “disapproving strongly”—compared with 20 percent who say they “approve strongly” and 15 percent who approve “somewhat.”
A year ago, 54 percent of Snap Poll respondents said they disapproved of the law; 46 percent disapproved strongly.
Roughly 570 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted July 15 and 16. Of those, 44 percent work for a business with 50 or more full-time employees.
Do you support or oppose the decision to delay the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate?
Would you support or oppose a delay in the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate?
Do you own or work for a business with 50 or more full-time employees (including FTEs)?
Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the Affordable Care Act?
Approve strongly: 20%
Approve somewhat: 15%
Disapprove somewhat: 11%
Disapprove strongly: 54%
The reason for the delay is to help the Democrats avoid the consequences of their support of Obamacare. The sooner the public understands the ramifications, the better.
The financial penalties generated by the employer mandate were designed to fund subsidies within the individual exchange marketplace. With a major piece of a circular system now removed, it will be interesting to see how individual subsidies will be funded in 2014.
—Jeff Welcher, Bene-Care Agency
There should be health insurance available for everyone, but not policies pushed down our throats with little or no conversation or review. The ACA will never come to fruition in the context that it is now. Just another policy failure in a do-nothing-right presidential term.
Delay every part of the “Affordable(?) Care Act” that we can until it dies a natural death.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.
If the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, how can the president and Obama administration simply choose what they think is favorable to them and nitpick it? Personally, I do not think there is a concern about 30 million uninsured souls, just the first step to socialized medicine!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield
In the end, the decision to delay had less to do with whether it’s appropriate to implement the penalty as for political (midterm elections) and logistic (they in fact didn’t have their ducks in a row to collect the information required to figure out whom to levy the penalty against in time to implement it properly). In the end, the only real answer to this mess is to remove private insurance at a base level, provide everyone with a base level of care paid for with tax dollars, and let private insurance concentrate (in a more regulated fashion than today) on "gap insurance" between the base level of care and people’s desired insurance features. You should not have to make the decision whether to have a potentially lifesaving medical treatment and being broke the rest of your life.
—Lee Drake, CEO, Os-Cubed Inc.
We need to gut it before we’ll know what’s in it!
The ACA should be scrapped, along with the rest of the Obama administration.
—Terrence C. Finegan
The entire mandate needs to be postponed if the government is not ready to do it right. There are too many large gaps and inconsistencies in this legislation.
I support the decision to delay the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate—and every other part of the law—permanently.
—Steve Wichtowski, Honeoye
The only question is whether they intended Obamacare to be this big a train wreck as a way of getting the country to single-payer insurance/socialized medicine sooner, or if it really is one of the worst written pieces of federal legislation in history, or both.
The Affordable Care Act needs to be revamped or dropped. The government has proved that it can’t operate as well as the private sector. The estimated cost of this program has increased three times and will continue to increase based on additional factors not considered and the inefficiencies of the program. People don’t understand there will be additional taxes and costs for employers and hardworking employees. Fewer employees will be hired, more employees will be held to under 30 hours, and costs will go up in retail, restaurants and other businesses with 50 or more employees. Companies that once provided health care benefits for people working less than 30 hours will no longer provide these benefits. I believe everyone should have affordable medical coverage, but this act needs some major changes.
—Mike Hogan, Information Packaging
We should have health insurance for all as every other modern industrial nation provides for their citizens. There shouldn’t be a profit made on one’s ability to receive proper health care insurance, thereby limiting proper health care to those who can pay the hefty insurance price.
Enforce or repeal. I strongly support repeal of this appropriately tagged “mega train wreck.”
—Dennis Kiriazides, retired
I’m glad it’s delayed for a year, and think it should be delayed indefinitely, then scrapped entirely!
—George Thomas, Ogden
Kill the bill; let’s go back to where we were. Add legal restrictions?
I can’t think of anything the government has done in the last five years that makes any sense. I used to be proud to own GM cars, but that made me sick when it became government/union-owned.
—Dan Mossien, architect
The whole plan was the most ill-conceived … legislation ever thrust on the American populace. It doesn’t work now, won’t work next year and won’t work 10 years from now. Roughly 87 percent of the population has some sort of insurance that works, and 5 percent don’t want insurance because they are young and opt out for cash in their paycheck. So that leaves 8 percent. You don’t remake the 87 percent for the 8 percent; you figure out how to cover the 8 percent—and can do it for a lot less than the mess on the table. There is a reason people in Europe and Canada come here for complicated surgeries: Because we have the best, most qualified, innovative doctors in the world. Period. And only the free market allows that.
If you are forced to swallow a frog, don’t spend a lot of time staring at it. If this law is taking us over the cliff, let’s do it now so we can start in a new direction sooner. If it works, why are we waiting?
The Obama administration clearly delayed this because they feared the backlash that would occur during an election year. This is going to be so painful for everyone that everyone that voted for this bill would have felt the wrath of most voters in 2014. If it is wrong for 2014, it is wrong for any year—this is just a re-election tactic.
Once again we find ourselves in the midst of the imperial presidency. Presidents take an oath to uphold the laws of the United States. Our current president seems to have a tendency to ignore his duties by not enforcing a law that might hurt his party politically or is just not to his liking.
—T. Baker, Henrietta
The Affordable Care Act addressed some issues that had long needed attention: gender bias in care insurance; lifetime limits on care; pre-existing conditions that made some people unable to be insured; the number of uninsured in the country; and more. Health care will continue to demand attention and innovation to keep quality up but costs down. Not easy.
—Carolyn Phinney Rankin, president and creative director, Phinney Rankin Inc.
Obamacare was poorly conceived, written in a rush, and filled with artificial deadlines. It does not achieve the stated goal of covering 15 percent of the population that was not covered by health insurance. We now learn that about 8 percent of the population will not have health insurance, when fully implemented. Another goal was to reduce costs of health care without reducing services. It is now becoming clear that costs will not be reduced, but services will. We are seeing people moved from 40-hour jobs to 30-hour jobs so companies can stay in business. The younger generations will be paying extremely high premiums or fines while the elderly will have trouble getting treatments. A little reality is setting in as they have to delay the employer mandate, because the law is so complex and poorly written. The train wreck is beginning and Obama, (Nancy) Pelosi and (Harry) Reid want to keep going full throttle. Brilliant! They need to throw the whole monstrosity out and start over. We never needed the government to take over the whole health insurance industry. We needed a small, simple plan to help the 7 percent to 8 percent who wanted coverage but couldn’t afford it.
—Dennis Ditch, Delta Square Inc.
I believe market-based health care reform would serve us better. All instances of government run health care have and are failing and costing the taxpayer more and more in taxes. Obamacare will fail to produce the Utopian dream of free universal health care because the government will run out of other people's money. If it isn't obvious by now, the cost of Obamacare are already taking their toll on the productive taxpaying Americans. Whether through employers reducing hours or reducing the quality of health care benefits, the cost of health care is rising dramatically upon the shoulders of the productive workers who pay taxes while who Obamacare covers is increasing— illegal aliens, et al. Between tax increases needed to pay for the plan and the increases in health care insurance premiums, sooner or later the worker will find no benefit for his or her productivity and the despair they feel will lead them to reduce or quit their productivity and then where will these Utopian pipe dream programs get the money to keep them afloat? “Why should I work if the government will support me?” More people should read the book “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, published in 1957. It mirrors what is happening today.
—Michael F. Kloppel, chairman, Ontario County Conservative Party, Canandaigua
President Obama and his gang of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, etc. really stepped in it when they passed Obamacare. When Nancy Pelosi stated that they had to pass the legislation in order to find out what’s in it, it was a statement of stupidity. The chickens are now coming home to roost. This legislation is a disaster. It’s one big tax increase according to the U.S. Supreme Court. A recent study showed that much of the burden of Obamacare will be carried by the younger generation of 26- to 44-year-olds, whose average premiums will increase substantially in order to pay for the “have-nots.” Also, the seniors will have many services stripped from them because of a reduction in hospital and doctor reimbursements along with rationing. There is a tax on medical devices which will be passed on to consumers and may put some companies out of business since the tax is on gross revenue not net income. Obamacare has precipitated the downsizing of many full time jobs to part time jobs in businesses which are trying to minimize the financial burden of this pathetic law. The bill is weak on tort reform, so the ambulance chasers will continue to pump up the costs of medical care. Finally, the bill allowed the federal government to take over much of the student loan business which had no connection to health care. Obama’s gang is not the solution; they are the problem.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.
"The Obama administration recently decided to postpone"? It is the first positive thing that has been accomplished in this administration. It should be the preemptive strike in abolishing this fiasco. The majority of the people don't want it. Do away with government involvement in health care. Period. The sad part is that none of this administration has any business experience at all. They don't have a clue as to how their misguided, pie-in-the-sky Utopian vision of social justice affects the economy. An astute business person makes decisions regarding investment, hiring, procurement and day to day spending based on the cost of doing business. When considering the financial impact health care has on a business, anybody other than a member of the administration of incompetent clowns, knows that business will be in a "wait-and-see" mode. The process of "we have to pass it to see what's in it" is beyond comprehension. But then again, these idiots are in office by vote. Please remember that next election, and the one after that, and so on. We need to hold this administration to task and challenge how, by decree, they could circumvent law.
7/19/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.